Category Archives: Rawalpindi

Boxer Amir Khan honours Gen Raheel Sharif with championship belt

RAWALPINDI: World Boxing Welterweight Champion Amir Khan presented his championship belt to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Sunday to honour Army chief’s efforts for peace in Pakistan, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

Khan thanked Director General ISPR Lt. Gen Asim Bajwa and World Boxing Council (WBC) President Mauricio Sulaiman for the opportunity to present the belt to Gen Raheel.

Khan presented the belt as a “special award of honour in recognition of [Sharif’s] efforts for peace and security in Pakistan,” the ISPR said.

The belt has been customised to pay homage to Khan’s heritage and heroes, featuring photographs of boxing legend Mohammed Ali and the COAS flanked by flags of the United Kingdom and Pakistan on either side.

SHO removed for refusing to release PML-N activists

RAWALPINDI: The windowpanes of the New Town model police station came crashing down and the fixture and furniture of the front desk were damaged when over 200 activists of the PML-N youth wing, led by former MNA Hanif Abbasi, attacked the building on Wednesday night.

The incident occurred after the registration of a case against three of the youth wing activists who were caught by the traffic police doing wheelie, the police said.

City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Ahmed Abbasi allegedly bowed to the political pressure and ordered the immediate transfer of the SHO Ghulam Asghar Chandio, after he refused to release the motorcycle riders and withdraw the case on the demand of Hanif Abbasi.

The SHO said about half an hour after the case was registered, Hanif Abbasi along with his supporters reached the police station and asked for the release of the three youth and their vehicles.

When CPO Abbasi was contacted, he said he had directed the SP Rawal Town to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within two days.

The CPO said the youth wing activists claimed that they did not attack the police station and that the damage was caused by the policemen themselves.

When the CPO was asked why a criminal case was not registered against the attackers, he said: “After the report is received, the police will decide what to do.”

When contacted, Hanif Abbasi told Media that the PML-N activists were not involved in ransacking the police station.

‘650 Pakistanis fighting in conflict zones abroad’

RAWALPINDI: As many as 650 Pakistanis are said to be fighting in the conflict zones of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Central Asian states along with different foreign organisations.

Intelligence agencies have so far identified 132 of them and expressed the fear that their return after being defeated by international forces might add to sectarian strife in Pakistan.

After receiving the information, the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the federal government has alerted law enforcement agencies to take preventive measures besides tightening security on the borders of the country, especially in Balochistan, KP and the coastal areas, as well as airports.

A senior security official told Dawn that the defeat of fighters in Middle East, Afghanistan and Central Asian states had put Pakistan on the verge of sectarian violence, forcing the NCMC to advise the interior ministry to take measures to stop them from making a comeback.

“The NCMC directed the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to also keep surveillance on families of the individuals who had traveled to conflict zones and might create multiple security risks for Pakistan on their return,” he said.

“Intelligence agencies in coordination with law enforcement agencies should keep effective surveillance on families of the individuals who have traveled to the conflict zones and are expected to return,” he added.

Officials say return of these fighters may lead to rise in sectarian violence in Pakistan

A source in the law enforcement agencies told Dawn that the foreign fighters who suffered heavy losses in Afghanistan, Middle East and Central Asian region would take refuge in Pakistan.

“Fighters of other nationalities, especially those belonging to the Central Asian states, might find Afghanistan as a safe haven. But our own nationals who are fighting in Syria and Iraq would prefer moving back to Pakistan.”

He added: “The return of foreign terrorists to our region has the potential of creating multiple security risks for Pakistan. Their increased strength in Afghanistan would also lead to a new wave of instability in our immediate neighbourhood with the potential of spillover effects into Fata.”

The source said the return of the radicalised, trained and experienced fighters to the mainland carried the potential of sectarian violence in the country which was already facing such issues.

In line with the intelligence reports, the NCMC has suggested a proactive approach by the government agencies to check the entry of such elements into the country.

The NCMC had issued a similar alert in January this year, asking the police chiefs of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the commandant of the Frontier Constabulary to improve checking at the inter-provincial checkposts as a huge catches of arms were being smuggled to different parts of Punjab.

According to security sources, the NCMC had asked the authorities to improve checking of suspicious vehicles at the inter-provincial checkposts after it was noticed that gunrunners had been delivering weapons in different parts of Punjab on a regular basis.

This came into the knowledge of the authorities concerned after the Punjab police and intelligence agencies arrested two weapon smugglers and recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition during a crackdown at Defence Road in Lahore.

When asked why the security forces were worried about the return of the fighters, a senior official requesting not to be named said intelligence agencies had come up with a report about the foreign fighters’ plan to return to the country. He said the fighters were gathering in Afghanistan and planning to take refuge on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“And to stop them from entering the country from the Afghan or Iran border, an advisory has been issued to the ministry of interior and the law enforcement agencies to take measures before any untoward incident,” he said.

Amir Rana, the director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), told Dawn that the vigilance level had been increased since the terrorist attacks in Germany in which a Syrian was allegedly involved. And it forced the other countries to increase the security and vigilance level.

“Though sectarian violence in Pakistan has decreased in the last few years, the expected return of the foreign fighters would increase the fear that the scourge may raise its head again. Therefore, the government is taking preventive measures,” said Mr Rana.

He said actually more than 700 Pakistani were involved with different foreign fighting organisations across the globe and they were now planning to come back due to the increase vigilance in the conflict zones of the world

Ayyan’s lawyers submit documents of property deal

RAWALPINDI: Investigators in the Ayyan Ali money laundering case will be visiting Bahria Town office in Rawalpindi to verify her claim that the money found in her possession was earned through the sale of five residential plots.

5513a61c2d628A source close to the investigation team revealed that the model submitted records of sale of five files for residential plots, jointly owned by her brother and her to the customs investigators on Wednesday.

Ayyan Ali’s lawyer submitted documents detailing the deal, according to which a person named Mumtaz had bought the plots from the siblings, on behalf of Najeeb Haroon, a Dubai-based businessman. According to a source, Mr Haroon is said to have close links with a former federal minister.

The documents submitted include stamp papers and details of the deal written on a piece of paper with an estate agency’s letterhead. The model claimed that she had received payment for the plots she sold in US dollars, paid in cash. The deal amounts to $506,800.

According to sources, the investigators would be visiting Bahria Town’s Rawalpindi office in Phase 7 on Thursday to verify her claims of selling the plots.

The investigators believe that the challan in Ayyan’s case would be completed before her team of lawyers submitted her bail application, expected to be moved in the first week of April.

When Ayyan Ali was caught at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, attempting to take over $500,000 in cash with her to Dubai, she told the investigators that documents detailing her assets would be submitted to them by her lawyers.

Last Thursday, she told a customs team that she came to Islamabad to finalise the property deal and stayed for a night. She also told the team that she does not want to see her father who abandoned her when she was in high school.

She also claimed that someone who is jealous of her success may be behind this recent fiasco.

Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts, investigators have been unable to get their hands on her phone records. Both her phones were blocked as soon as she was caught by customs staff.

Like other prisoners at Adiala Jail, Ayyan can buy things such as bottled water, juices, biscuits and sweets from the jail canteen. However, prisoners are not allowed to keep cash and so a prison bank account called P.P Account has been opened for her.

It’s Holi time in twin cities

RAWALPINDI: As young boys broke an earthen pot, commonly called Matki, hanging in the middle of Krishna Mandir’s courtyard with butter inside it, the priest (Pandit) shouted, ‘Holi Hay’.

54f8e6b8c0170Soon after, people at the temple started throwing colours at each other, marking Holi, the festival of colours.

Hindus celebrate the festival at the start of spring season to remember the victory of a devotee of Hindu god Vishnu against the Raja of Multan who led evil forces.

The Hindus of Rawalpindi and Islamabad marked the festival on Thursday at Krishna Mandir in Saddar which had been illuminated.

Despite the rain, a large number of Hindu families residing in the twin cities arrived at the temple.

The function, however, started two hours late as some families from Islamabad had requested it to be delayed due to the bad weather.

Traffic police had closed the roads from Chota Bazaar and Kola Centre to Krishna Mandir for security reasons. Police personnel frisked people before they were allowed to enter the temple.

The event commenced with Durga Puja (prayer), which was followed by special prayers for prosperity of Pakistan.

“Our country needs peace and harmony, and we send out a message to the enemy that all citizens stand united,” said Jag Mohan Arora, who led the Puja along with the priest, Jai Ram.

As per Hindu customs, a bonfire is created from cow dung which is lit up with desi ghee. “The fumes rising from the cow dung purifies us and keeps us protected from evil throughout the year,” said Jai Ram.

“We mostly use colours which are prepared from fruits and vegetables. These colours are not harmful to the skin,” said Sunil Gill, a participant at the festival.

Explaining the bonfire ritual, Jag Mohan Arora said Raja Hiranyakashipu who ruled Multan and other areas of northern Indian subcontinent considered himself a god.

But his son, Prahad, who was a devotee of Vishnu, refused to accept him as god.

Prahad even tried to save his people from his father’s cruelty and preached the message of Vishnu. This infuriated Raja Hiranyakashipu who planned to kill his son.

To execute his plan, he sought the help of his sister Holika. Both planned to burn Prahad to death, and Holika took the responsibility of luring Prahad to the flames.

A large fire was lit up, and Holika, who wore a cloak which had been gifted to her by the gods, took Prahad into it.

Believing that she would not be burnt, Holika entered the fire with Prahad.

But she died, while Prahad remained safe. The fire turned into colours, Jag Mohan Arora said.

Explaining the tradition of breaking the pot, Mr Arora said: “We break the earthen pot in memory of Lord Krishna who liked butter.

Krishna’s mother kept butter in the earthen pot and hanged it from the roof but he broke it and ate the butter.”